From Endurance to Dressage
No matter what the scores say, I am so proud of Izzy. He was such a good boy at this weekend's schooling show. As the only adult ammie showing Intro A and B, we took home two lovely blue ribbons. I don't even care that we earned them with a 49.69% and a 52.50%. Izzy handled himself like a true rockstar.
My friend Laurel came with me and served as Izzy's groom and all around protector. I owe her much more than the Starbuck's scone and horse show lunch that she got for coming with me. She kept me laughing the whole day.
The craziness started with my carefully planned out day - the one where I only left myself 5 minutes for braiding. How we even made it there in time to show is a mystery to me
As I laid in bed on Saturday morning thinking about my day, I was going though the schedule in my mind. I kept hitting a mental glitch when I got to the braiding part. I finally got out of bed and looked at what I had written. When I saw my miscalculation - no one can braid in 5 minutes! - I jumped in gear and got out of the house by 7:00.
I picked up my pace a little and saved a few minutes on my braiding by doing thicker and fatter braids. Laurel arrived a bit early, so even after a few minutes spent persuading Izzy to get the heck on the trailer, we managed to pull out right on time.
As we laughed and chatted our way down the two lane country highway, I realized I was looking at some unfamiliar territory; I had missed the turn which would take us towards Woodlake. I pulled over to the shoulder while Laurel used her phone's GPS to figure out where we were. It was to be the joke of the day - how many times could we piss Siri off by turning on the wrong road. Apparently, Siri loves the phrase, MAKE A U-TURN!
The last straw was actually making it to Woodlake only to encounter a detour that took us around the entire town. By that point, Laurel and I were in complete hysterics. It took us two iphones, a ticked off Siri, a crappy set of Google directions, numerous u-turns, and a full extra hour of driving before we pulled into the beautiful Sequoia Hills Stables.
I can't say enough about the show management and the facility. Parking was easy, the show office was clearly marked, and we were greeted by friendly and helpful volunteers. In no time at all we were back on schedule. While Laurel groomed Izzy, I switched into my show clothes and then tacked Izzy up. Laurel grabbed my bag of stuff while I led Izzy to an over-sized round pen.
Using Chemaine's strategy, I quietly lunged Izzy with the draw reins until he started to stretch his back and relax. Laurel kept me company by chatting over the fence. With her easy going conversation, I focused on keeping myself relaxed and confident, and Izzy followed suit. By this time, Laurel noted that Izzy kept looking to the two of us for reassurance. Wherever Laurel went, Izzy was happy to follow. We had quickly become his herd.
I had the warm up to myself, thanks to clever planning on the show manager's part (she knew this was Izzy's first show so we were first to go after lunch). I walked Izzy for quite a while just letting him look around. We eventually picked up a baby trot and simply focused on staying relaxed.
As my ride time approached, Laurel encouraged Izzy to follow her as we made the walk over to the show ring. He kept his nose right between her shoulder blades.
There were clearly problems during the test, but Izzy tried so hard to stay focused on me. This was the first time he's been in a show ring with the judge's tent and potted flowers. There was also a spectator's tent. Even with the tension and giraffing of his neck, you can see moments where he's kind of figuring it out. I can definitely see his potential.
This judge didn't pull any punches. The slew of 4s and 5s that she gave us were what I expected. Some of the 5s might have even been a stretch. Had this been a rated show, the 49.69% that we earned would probably have been our score - I don't think the judge "softballed" any of her scores, and I am okay with that. Once Izzy learns to relax, our scores will go up. I am tickled that he actually did each movement without a meltdown.
My honest to goodness goals for the day were a) get him to stand somewhat still while I tacked up, b) let me get on without a rodeo, and c) trot in the warm up. There was no d) - I didn't even think we'd make it into the show ring.
After the horrible rides we'd had earlier in the week, I had seriously considered not even going. Chemaine, my trainer, talked me down off the ledge reminding me that it was just a schooling show and that Izzy needs experience.
So while some critics might scoff at the work we did in the ring, I couldn't be happier. Even Laurel, who sees him every day, was blown away by how hard Izzy tried. She hadn't expected me to be able to ride him either.
The judge's Further Remarks were quite accurate and are our blue print going forward, "Much tension throughout with very short strides in both gaits. Often above bit." Well yes, that's all very true.
Look for test B tomorrow. It was actually a tiny bit better!
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: